I recently had a chance to talk to the students of Leslie McCall's Professional Digital Techniques class at Orange Coast College. OCC has an amazing facility and great faculty. The school is amazing, there are tons of 5D, 7D, Canon AE-1 (film bodies) cameras and lenses, all Profoto lighting, and even medium- and large format equipment that is all available to the students to check out any time. And studios, all kinds of lighting and grip. No additional rental fees. Can you imagine?
Lily Fassnacht jumps for an hypersync action illustration
I had a chance to show the students how to use strobes and in particular hypersync to control light and freeze action in bright sunlight and at dusk. It's a great tool to have in your arsenal, something I use a lot. As I explained, not all shoots can happen in great light at the golden hour. Clients rarely want to set up multi-day shoots in great light, instead we often have to create good light where there is less-than-good light. Being able to overpower the sun so there is blue sky, or control shadows, or even freeze action much better than you can with the normal sync speed of the camera is a VERY useful tool.
Explaining hypersync using Canon cameras and Profoto lighting
I had some of the students doing some action stuff, then explained and demonstrated the use of Hypersync, and then let them try it with a variety of cameras and situations. We were using the school's Profoto Acute 600 packs and heads with both my Nikon D800 body and a Canon 1D Mark IV and the school's Canon 5D Mark II, both wired (using dedicated flash) and using PocketWizard Flex units. The 5D cannot do hypersync. We discussed workarounds for the 5D and similar cameras to modify less than ideal light. Fortunately, friend Shelly Castellano was there to help on the Canon side. I know a little about Canon bodies, but not as well as Shelly or Leslie does.
OCC Student Andrew Dietterle skateboards and is frozen using hypersync, Pocketwizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 units and Profoto Acute lights
We also went over some basics about being able to create a quick, creative portrait on location. We used a single light (Profoto Acute 600 pack and one D4 head with an umbrella) and added another light, ultimately deciding that the single light was more powerful in this situation.
Portrait of Jacquie Castillo.
Afterward we went inside to the lab and projected images up on the big screen and talked about them and about photography business in general. Again Shelly was insightful here, as was seasoned veteran pro photographer and teacher Leslie. The students asked some great questions.
In the digital lab at OCC explaining how the shutter works with hypersync.
I love the chance to talk to students, as I've had a lot of help in my career. I look forward to giving back and helping the new generation of professional photographers.